Jun 022010
 

We’re going to keep this book club meeting going through Thursday…just in case any Monkees arrived late. Traffic’s just awful.

Also..if you have a recommendation for our next book club selection, please comment!





I NOW CALL TO ORDER THE THIRD MEETING OF THE HERMIT CRAB BOOK CLUB.

Our name is derived from the fact that we are too tired to attend real book clubs. Also we don’t know how to make crepes. So here we are.

Hermit Crab Book Club Rules:

1. Everyone is invited.

2.We will try not to be jerks.

3.We will try to learn more about each other and ourselves.

4. If we’ve only had time to read the Pottery Barn catalog and would prefer to discuss the Aris Table vs. the Montego, by george, we will do so.


Without further Ado…







Unbelievable book. I find myself hoping, hoping, hoping that this book is the Truth. That this kind of forgiveness, courage and unity are reality, and that the lines are make-believe.

Some of my favorite passages:


“She just don’t see ‘em. The lines. Not between her and me, not between her and Hilly.”

Aibeleen takes a long sip of her tea. Finally I look at her. “What you so quiet for? I know you got an opinion bout all this.”

“You gone accuse me of philosophizing.”

“Go ahead,” I say, “I aint afraid a no philosophy.”

“It ain’t true.”

“Say what?”

“You talking about something that don’t exist.”

I shake my head at my friend. “Not only is they lines, but you know as good as I do where them lines be drawn.”

Aibeleen shakes her head. “I used to believe in em. I don’t anymore. They in our heads. People like Miss Hilly is always trying to make us believe they there, but they ain’t.”

“I know they’re there cause you get punished for crossing ‘em,” I say. “Least I do.”

“Lot of folks think that if you talk back to you husband, you crossed the line. And that justifies punishment. You believe in that line?”

I scowl at the table. “You know I ain’t studying no line like that.”

“Cause that line ain’t there. Except in Leroy’s head. Lines between black and white ain’t there neither. Some folks just made those up, long time ago. And that go for the white trash and so-ciety ladies, too.”

Thinking of Miss Celia coming out with that fire poker when she could’ve hid behind the door, I don’t know. I get a twinge. I want her to understand how it is with Miss Hilly. But how do you tell a fool like her?

“So you saying there ain’t no line between the help and the boss either?”

Aibleleen shakes her head. “They’d just positions, like on a checkerboard. Who works for who don’t mean nothing.”

“So I ain’t crossing no line if I tell Miss Celia the truth, that she ain’t good enough for Miss Hilly? I pick my cup up. I’m trying hard to get this, but my cut’s thumping against my brain. “But wait, if I tell her Miss Hilly’s our of her league…then ain’t I sayin’ there is a line?”

Aibeleen laughs. She pats my hand. “All I’m saying is, kindness don’t have no boundaries.”


***********

“Oh I know what people think. They think big, strong Minnie, she sure can stand up for herself. But they don’t know what a pathetic mess I turn into when Leroy’s beating on me. If afraid to hit back. I’m afraid he’ll leave me if I do. I know it makes no sense and I get so mad at myself for being so weak! How can I love a man who beats me raw? Why do I love a fool drinker? One time I asked him, “Why? Why are you hitting me?” He leaned down and looked me right in the face.

“If I didn’t hit you, Minny, who knows what you become.”

Iwas trapped in the corner of the bedroom, like a dog. He was beating me with his belt. It was the first time I’d ever really thought about it.

Who knows what I could become, if Leroy would stop goddamn hitting me. (413)


******************

I walk out the back door, to the terrible sound a Mae Mobley crying again. I start down the driveway, crying too, knowing how much I’m on miss Mae Mobley, praying her mama can show her more love. But at the same time feeling, in a way, that I’m free, like Minny. Freer than Miss Leefolt, who so locked up in her own head she don’t even recognize herself when she read it. And freer than Miss Hilly. That woman gone spend the rest of her life trying to convince people she didn’t eat that pie. I think about Yule May setting in jail. Cause Miss Hilly, she in her own jail, but with a life-long term.


***********************


There is so much you don’t know about a person. I wonder if I could’ve made her days a little bit easier, if I’d tried. If I’d treated her a little nicer. Wasn’t that the point of the book? For women to realize, We are just two people. Not much that separates us. Not nearly as much as I’d thought.


***************


So what did you think?








Carry On, Warrior
Author of the New York Times Bestselling Memoir CARRY ON, WARRIOR
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  55 Responses to “The Help”

  1. I just discovered your book club! I think it’s amazing that now YOU are being compared to your writing inspiration. WOW! the word wow comes up a lot around here…it’s my lazy way to express a whole bunch of emotions that you express so eloquently. Thank you for taking the time.

    Some day I might have the time or take the time to express my caged bird, but for now, thank you. You give so much.

    I am breathing with you at this time…still. Continued peace

  2. Oh, and one more thing. (Even though not many will read this, 2 days later!) I'm reading a book called "Integrity". It's not an easy read, it's a textbook for an education class I'm taking. The author says that there are three steps to integrity: Knowing what you believe, acting on that belief, and telling/saying/confessing that this is what you have done and why.

    That third part is the hardest, don't you think? The author gives this extreme example (and I'm paraphrasing): If you believe that paying certain taxes is wrong, and you then act on this belief by cheating on your taxes, then you must TELL that this is what you've done, even to the IRS. If you don't tell, it's just cheating. If you explain (even at risk of punishment, being ostracized, etc)then you are demonstrating integrity. Interesting, huh?

    Anyway, this relates to the book, because the people who stood up and got involved in the Civil Rights movement often broke laws, but they did so because they believed it was right and they were willing to accept the consequences. It's the truth-telling that's hard, but, according to this author, it's required for integrity. And look what they accomplished, armed with their integrity.

    It's a lot of food for thought . . .

    :)MK

  3. I agree, Chimmy, and thanks for calling my grandmother sweet. She was a very good woman in so many ways, but she was definitely a product of her time.

    But my mom sees the world so differently than my grandmother did, and I, in turn, see the world differently than both of them do/did.

    Herein lies hope.

    :)MK

  4. Chimmy. Love.

    I STILL BELIEVE, TOO!!!

  5. Yes, MK, I believe there is something pretty powerful that triumphs over all the not-so wonderful so that your sweet Grandmother and her Virgie could share those last moments together, and that is what The Help is all about for me.

  6. Truly you must know this and
    Sense it in the most sacred precincts,
    The Holy Chambers
    Of your Soul:
    There is a Force, a Power that also is walking the planet today,
    An inexorable undeniable Power
    And It
    Is you and I
    And every living being who
    Still believes that surpassing and transforming
    All these days and months and years and endless
    Eons of pain and loss and suffering
    Is Something so great and powerful
    And passionately compelling
    That the very stars themselves
    Stand down
    In awe
    Before It:
    The soft, trusting smile
    And the warm beating heart
    Full of love and hope and dreams undreamt
    Of my neighbor’s little girl.
    Because,
    You see,
    Four year old
    Blond, blue-eyed
    Cassandra Marie
    Still
    Believes!
    - David Roche, excerpt from "I Still Believe"

  7. I am with Glennon. I thought Skeeter got her happy ending.
    Andie

  8. oh, the hair! of course, that's why it's her happy ending :) thanks I needed that :)

  9. You know, I thought that what's his name leaving Skeeter WAS her happy ending. Marrying him would have been her mom's happy ending…but since she didn't choose that road, she got to go to New York, where she could breathe and write and be with progressive people and wear hip clothes. Less humid too, good for the hair.

  10. in the final pages of Bird by Bird. Not sure it is the right book for me. But there were some great quotes… "Hope is the power of being cheerful in circumstance that we know to be desperate."

    The Help arrived today… so I cannot make any comments yet – but I cannot wait to get into it!

    Mel

  11. "My hope is that race will become less of an issue the more we live in more diverse communities. Hilly's ad for bathroom additions is crazytalk to our ears. I wonder which assumptions we hold now will be the ones our children and grandchildren find ridiculous."

    I keep thinking about that, too.

    Jen, I loved Lou Ann too. She's actually the only one who made me cry.

    Mary Ann…I will never look at a little pink eraser the same way.

  12. We're discussing this at our actually-meets-at-someone's-house book club in a couple of weeks and I'm really looking forward to it.

    I loved Lou Ann. I think because I can actually imagine doing the right thing, but quietly and without the willingness to make waves. Standing up, even anonymously, like Skeeter, Aibileen, Minnie and all the others is tough. Being a good person deep down but not quite brave enough to shake the status quo is easier to imagine.

    The bit about Minnie leaving Leroy and not taking the kids cracked me up. My parents have always said their marriage survived the rough times because their deal was that whoever left had to take me and my sister.

    Finally, I wanted Stuart to see the light. I get that it would have been too neatly tied up in a bow, but I want that from fiction! Real life is hard enough. And this book pushed me enough, I wanted the happy ending for the good ones.

  13. This all makes me think about my two precious new grandsons thats will soon be a part of our family. I think M&M have received varying reactions to the adoptions, just as I have when I showed people pictures of the boys. One of my students looked at the picture, his mouth dropped open and he said: "but Mrs. Clarke, they are black." I said: Yes and so are you — so what????." He finally broke into a big grin and gave me a hug. One of my tutoring students told me her parents didn't approve. I thought oh well, they aren't adopting them so who cares what they think. Some friends don't have much to say, others are very polite but not congratulatory and others are so excited for us. The reactions help me to some degree evaluate who I really call a friend.

    The book has many things that are contrasts:
    Marriage, friendships, love, levels-degrees and kinds of prejudice. It made me spend a lot of time thinking about some of these contrasts and how they applied in my life. It might be interesting to talk about them.

    I love a book that makes me think, really think and then evaluate how it impacts who I am. I hope that I can learn to identify all the lines I need to help erase and then have the courage to do it. I hope it makes me less judgemental and more loving as well as a much better friend.

  14. THis story probably has particular resonance for those of use who grew up in the South. My 96 year old great aunt is cared for by a lovely woman whom she pays very little. I'm pretty sure they use the same bathroom. It seems to work for them, but it doesn't feel totally just. It's hard to see someone I love through those eyes.

    My husband, who is a California native, has plenty of stories of the racist things his Irish grandmother would say. So it's not just a geographical issue.

    My hope is that race will become less of an issue the more we live in more diverse communities. Hilly's ad for bathroom additions is crazytalk to our ears. I wonder which assumptions we hold now will be the ones our children and grandchildren find ridiculous.

    And Chimmy– your 8 year old friend who canceled her sleepover gives me goose bumps. Don't know if you two are still in contact, but I'd like to shake her hand.

  15. triple mk. mkmkmk.

    i like it.

  16. Well shoot. I posted one and it didn't seem to post so I rewrote. And now I'm obsessively posting. :) Oh well. I don't know how to remove it, so enjoy them both.

    :)MK

  17. Yep. They're actually 1/4 since Chris is 1/2. My poor grandmother is probably rolling over in her grave over my two little brown boys. Thank goodness the girl's a redhead. ;)

    Just kidding, of course. I know she'd love them just the same, maybe even more because they don't look just like the rest of us. That's kind of a sweet thought.

    :)MK

  18. Yep. Well . . . I guess they're 1/4 eye-talian because Chris is 1/2. She's probably rolling over in her grave over my 2 brown boys. Thank goodness my girl's a redhead. ;)

  19. MK,

    I just think it's so wise to admit that there's just a whole lot we don't understand, and likely never will. Nobody can wear another woman's perspectacles, that's the thing. So that makes it tough to judge anybody.

    It seems like your mom and Virgie loved each other. I really liked reading their story. Thank you for sharing those two with us. That was brave.

    Love you ladies. Thank you, as always, for making me think and for making me softer.

    MK- Aren't those kids of yours half eye-talian? What would grandma say????

  20. Chimmy, your story reminds me a little of my childhood and my grandmother. I would happily parade my "different" friends in front of her, waiting for her reaction. She was too much of a lady to say anything. One day, though, after she was confused by Alzheimers, we went to her house and made pizza for her. She had NEVER tasted it before because she only knew the cuisine of the wealthy white south. She said, "This is good. Where did you learn to make pizza?" My brother replied, "It's because we're 1/2 Italian" (This is not true, we're the whitest bunch of Anglo Saxons you ever saw.) My poor grandmother nearly choked on her delicious pizza, over the idea that we might be "Eye-talians." She was noticibly agitated over the thought.

    BUT, when her maid was dying of cancer, she took her dinner most nights, held her hand, and stayed with her when her family was not able to be with her. She didn't want her beloved Virgie to be alone, and she was devastated when she died.

    I think The Help begins to get at this complex relationship between "The Help" and the white women who payed them to wait on them hand and foot. I know my grandmother wasn't a bad person and her actions during Virgie's illness show her love, but they did have a separate bathroom and it's all just so hard to fathom.

    Rambling,
    MK

  21. The Help was a great book. Our book for our next book club meeting is "Hotel at the Corner of Bitter and Sweet", check it out, it is another good book.

  22. Chimmy,

    I am trying to process all of this… I can't believe that woman called your mom. I can't believe a little girl, her DAUGHTER canceled her party. I hope Mae Mobley grows up to be like that eight year old. It's so hopeful, just one generation removed….

    I want to know how I'm part of the problem. I want God to keep showing me my prejudices, and keep weeding them out, one at a time.

  23. Keep the post up! I am without connection because of that crazy thing called work!!! It so gets in my way!

    I have stolen a moment to say I am loving the book (almost finished). My naysayer friends need a few of Maryann's erasers and a good pair of perspectacles. Their main issue is that attention is paid to race issues when it is brought up by a white person rather than the reverse… but I am not concerned with who wields the eraser.

    The book to me back to when a friend invited me to a sleepover and her mom called my mom to ask that I come later than the other girls and enter in the back because Grandma was visiting and would not like a black girl in the house. My friend overheard this and decided to cancel her birthday sleepover.

    She was only 8 years old and had one heck of a powerful eraser in her hands. It helped shape me forever, although I wouldn't understand that for a long time. It was one of the the many reasons why I step back and ask myself, am I helping or hurting here? Am I a part of the problem?

    I'm glad the author was not afraid to tell her truth in black and white.

  24. I liked the fact that Stuart didn't come round. It wouldn't have rung true for me, especially with his parents and because he as a man is more divorced from Skeeter's world of women and maids anyway.

    I think part of the life lessons we learn from Skeeter are: standing up from truth can hurt, and there's no guarantee that the people you know / trust / love will see things your way.

    Mostly I loved the fact that the people were real, and multi-layered, and you couldn't quite understand them all and pigeonhole them. And nobody was all good, and nobody was all bad.

  25. I think the book is really great, rather than just good, because Stuart and Skeeter don't live happily ever after. And because Hilly still loves her kids. And because Skeeter's critical, uptight mother really does believe in her. She reminds me of my grandmother in good and bad ways. The book rings true for me because the characters are multi-layered and not just caricatures.

    Elizabeth is such a sad character– endlessly trying to meet Hilly's standards and still so blind that she can't recognize her own cracked dining room table in the book. And the way she treats Mae Mobley just hurts my heart.

  26. I agree – I kept waiting for Stuart's wake up call as well. But perhaps the book would have been… somehow less true if that had all tied up nicely.

    Also.. I have to admit… I was not a Minnie fan until the very end of the book. Everyone else in the book seemed so real to me and reminded me (sometimes scarily so) of people I know. But for some reason, I couldn't get past Minnie as just a somewhat unbelievable character. And as much as I loved that Hilly got her just desserts… that whole incident seemed to me a little too comedic / out there.

    Alright.. enough debbie downer from me. I seriously did love the book. Also – here is an interesting interview Katie Couric did with the author: http://www.cbsnews.com/video/watch/?id=6259944n&tag=ap

  27. coming late to this party – thanks for keeping it up, G!
    I loved this book – and I highly recommend the audio version. Although, if you have a tendency to speak with any bit of Southern accent, you will be unable to stop it while listening to the book :)
    I really enjoyed Aibileen's character. She was so good at just seeing people without the lines and boundaries. I loved the scene when Hilly and her children are over at Elizabeth's house and Aibileen notices how much Hilly loves her kids and how they love her. I was amazed at her ability to see anything good in that woman's life. She saw 2 truths about her, where I would have rather only saw the one…
    I enjoyed Skeeter's character as well – such an awakening she has! I loved how she allowed her world to be rocked. So many of us (back then and now) may start to see the irony/injustice of the rules that are out there, but few can actually allow a different set of rules to become a reality. She gave up a ton just by acknowledging the Truth around her.
    Other miscellaneous thoughts:
    The scenes with Mae Mobley and her mom always broke my heart.
    LOVED the relationship between Celia and Minny – those two were meant for each other!
    Stuart – ugh, I kept hoping and hoping that he was going to have the same wake up call that Skeeter did. Maybe it's slowly coming?
    I agree that Mr. Johnny was a great character – I was so scared to meet him and then took a huge sigh of relief when it was all over!

    ok could talk about this for awhile, but must tend to other things :)

  28. Loved this book. It was so hard to put down and I stayed up way too late many evenings, but the tired days were worth it. Once I did finish it, I felt a part of me missing "sitting down with my new friends" and discovering all these life lessons. I had folded down some pages with quotes that I really liked; however, I passed this book along to a friend as soon as I finished it. I so wanted to share the joy of reading it with others. There was just so much to take away from this book. I do remember one of the quotes I had marked was the one already mentioned: We are just two people. Not much that separates us. Not nearly as much as I’d thought. Thank you for the great book choice!

  29. Remember how lots of 80's movies had a part at the end where they ran a little caption that told you what ended up happening to all the characters (usually during the credits).
    I wanted that for this book.

  30. So I just want to put out a big shout out for Mister Johnny who stood by his woman Celia, even when she tried to pass Minnie's cooking for hers and tried to wear a dress that was too "open at the top." He just wanted her there. He soothes her even when she doesn't realize he is doing it. I wanted to know more about him.

  31. Love it.

    For some reason, this book makes me more committed than ever not to gossip…to speak of people with the same level of respect that I use when speaking to them. And to break the rules, break the rules, break the rules. Since there really are no rules.

    Also, after I finished the book, I started telling Tish everyday that she's a good girl, a smart girl, an important girl (often through gritted teeth).

    The other day Craig told Tish to be careful with the cord to the blinds because they could be dangerous. Tish said "Don't worry. Mommy wouldn't let anything happen to me. I'm too important."

    Yay.

  32. I am not sure that this is taking a huge risk…I try to remember to treat people the way I would want to be treated. Even when it is hard and the other person is being a jerk. I am not always good at it and often fail. BUT, I am also trying to teach my daughter this lesson through the drama of being a teenage girl. Hoping that she will be better than me…quicker to react with grace. That is the truth I am standing for and how I am trying to change my little part of the world's history.

    I believe that was what Aibileen was doing with the stories she told to Mae Mobley. Sometimes what seems like a small thing can make a big change.

  33. I want to hear from Chimmy now about her friends' objections to the book. And what she thought of it. Chimmy, are you here?

  34. How do we end up on the right side of history, along with Aibeleen and Skeeter and not Ms. Leefolt and Hilly?

    Aibeleen and Skeeter took big risks. Huge risks, risked their lives for the truth.

    How do we risk ourselves and our standing for the truth?

  35. LOVED this book – I loved it on so many levels – and I think I will reread it someday because I read it so fast I don't know that I let it all sink in and absorb.

    I did get invited to my neighbor's book club when they discussed this book and it was really interesting all the dichotomies in the book. While none of us felt sorry for the upper crust white ladies – we did talk about what it would be like living then without a lot of tv, no internet, nothing in their experience to show them a different way of thinking. How brave the Aibeleens and Minnys and Skeeters of those times were to do things big and small that literally changed the world for all of us now.

    Thanks for all of you who shared passages from the book – those characters really get into your head, don't they?

  36. That was such an incredible book, and it's amazing how far we've come in my lifetime. We've got a long way to go (not sure if we'll ever get there), but we've come soooo far.

  37. Living everyday in the deep South made this book especially meaningful to me. I am amazed at the lines I see drawn on a daily basis, Many are very thin lines so that hopefully only the people they are meant for will notice. Others are wide and rigid in the minds of the older generation. I love the people I see slowly going around with erasers trying to get rid of them — I think I keep an earaser in my back pocket. From my childhood, I remember visiting my Mother's famiy in Texas, the highlight was always getting to help my Great-Aunt's maid, Zebeen fix meals and bake. She was deaf and couldn't speak but I knew she loved that skinny little girl she let crawl up on a chair and be her "helper." I wallowed in her love and acceptance of me. It hurts my heart when I see people missing out on so many of God's blessings because they can't seem to get across those lines of race, gender, economic status, nationality, size, age and on and on. This book gives me hope that there are lots of line erasers in this world and we can make a difference is we just keep erasing.,

  38. Loved the book and love the comments.

    Aibeleen is my favorite– she (and Louvenia) suffered incredible losses and pain and still reached out to Mae Mobley (and Lou Ann– who rocks, btw) with love. She also sees the dynamic early on and figures out that she has that early window with the children, but doesn't stay to watch them get engrossed in the world of lines.

    Another thing I appreciated it that characters like Elizabeth and Hilly are repellent, but not entirely one-dimensional. They (at first at least) really do love Skeeter and want her to have the home and family that they do. I'm not brave like Skeeter, but I do know what it's like to look around my hometown and realize that I don't feel really at home.

    A few other observations– notice that Stewart moves south so he can spend more time on the oil rigs (which has a difficult resonance given the BP spill). But it is clear that Skeeter has made him reconsider some lines too.
    I love when Mae Mobley gets caught talking about Rosa Parks and blames it on her mean teacher– no 1st grader is that sophisticated, but it still rocked.

    I'm looking forward to discussing this with my mom. She was a young housewife in the early 60's (in Charlottesville, VA) and she volunteered in civic organizations. Don't think she and my dad could afford Help. Books like this (and movies like Driving Miss Daisy) are hard for her because this is the world she knew as a child and a young woman. It's hard to reconsider parents and other beloved friends and family members (and yourself) in light of these lines.

    And like Minny, when I fantasize about running away, I do think about leaving the kids. Just a little.

  39. Love reading everyone's comments…just had to add one more!

    Perspectacles are: "just remembering something you were born knowing, and forgetting all the lies you were accidentally taught along the way."

  40. Miss Celia reminds me of Thoreau's quote…

    "I have always been regretting that I was not as wise as the day I was born"

    Miss Celia's ignorance seemed like wisdom to me. She was child-like in the best way.

    Gaining wisdom and growing up seems more to me about unlearning than learning. It's like the whole process of becoming mature is just remembering something you were born knowing, and forgetting all the lies you were accidentally taught along the way.

  41. Allison – I couldn't agree with you more about the Crisco! And I also loved the cleaning tips – I have thought about trying one or two, but that would involve actually cleaning something so I haven't quite gotten around to it!

  42. I really liked this book, and it's hard for me to pick a favorite passage. Also, I loaned my copy to a friend so I don't have it to refer to this morning.

    Anyway, I love how much Aibeleen, a woman who was not allowed to receive much formal education, values reading and writing, so much so that she writes her prayers each night.

    I was touched by Aibeleen's relationship with Mae Mobley. Aibeleen provided the only unconditional love that poor child got, and it was clear at the end of the book just feel how sad Aibeleen was to leave her.

    Finally, while it didn't do much to advance the larger themes of the book, I though Minnie's discussion of the many uses of Crisco was hilarious. Anyone who's grown up in the South with a biscuit- or pie-baking grandmother could relate to her disbelief at Miss Celia's ignorance of the wonders of Crisco!

  43. One of my fave Minny quotes:

    "I've got to make a decision about Leroy, tell him how it is…Either you quit beating on me, or I'm gone. And I'm not taking the kids either.

    Which ain't true, about the kids, but that ought to scare him more than anything."

  44. Wait one more. I'm sorry!

    When Minnie is talking about her stories, p 218, "And I'm not saying the Miss Skeeter meetings are fun. Every time we meet, I complain. I moan. I get mad and throw a hot potato fit. But heres the thing. I like telling my stories. It feels like I'm doing something about it. When I leave, the concrete in my chest has loosened, melted down so I can breath for a few days." That was my FAV quote..I think.

    We can hopefully ALL relate to that and I know it reminded me of the peace I feel from sharing.

  45. I loved this book. I haven't read such a page turner in a loooong time.

    I'm going to be a mocking bird here and agree with Glennon. One of my biggest take-aways was the humanity in all of us, regardless of class, skin color, age, etc. I think this is a timeless truth. Most people just want to be allowed to live their lives, take care of their families and have their children have all the opportunities possible. p.218" I don't care about eating at a counter with white people. What I care about is, if in ten years, a white lady will call my girls dirty and accuse them of stealing the silver."

    The passage G referenced where Minnie says, "who KNOWS what I could become…." wow that is powerful.

    My favorite part though is how muti-dimensional the characters are. Which is really just a continuation of me loving the humanity in all of us that was so clearly shown in this book. Look at Minnie. She was strong and proud as she told off her white employers, but simultaneously she was unable for years to stand-up to her husband. She walked with pride and ans shame hand in hand. p.304 "but, …oh. The shame is so heavy I think it might pull me to the floor. " SO poetic. In an INSTANT, I completely identified with how Minnie felt.

    A less mentioned character, but I liked Mr. Johnny. He was kind and LOVED his wife, no matter what.

    okay, Clearly I've been excited to talk about this for 2 weeks!

    Things that made me pee in my pants laugh –

    When Miss Celia wrote in the note of her check, "for 2-slice Hilly" AHAHAHA!

    When Minnie describes the weather as, "For no reason but to irritate me, we get a heat wave in December."

  46. Minny, Minny, Minny. I love Minny :-)

    I relate to her in so many ways. Both of us have a big mouth and don't know when to shut it, lol

  47. I loved the book. Skeeter and Aibeleen were my favorites but I liked the other characters too. The "high society" ladies, I disliked them, so cruel! Still dislike those types today. How is it those lazy snobs would not let someone use their toilet ….but they had no problem having their help raise their kids, prepare their food. Those so-called society women were lazy a@@ hypocrites who tried to fit some mold that they thought they belonged in.

    I couldn't put it down but had to stop to sleep or work or shop!

    Terri

  48. Definitely one of my favorite reads in a very long time. I started out wanting to be Skeeter and to try and change the world and ended wishing I was more like Minnie who actually did it. Skeeter was the messenger and that was important, but Minnie was the real change maker and I was in awe. This was my favorite quote, too: "We are just two people. Not much that separates us. Not nearly as much as I’d thought."

  49. Some of my favourite passages:
    "Ever morning, until you dead in the ground, you gone have to make this decision. You gone have to ask yourself, "Am I gone believe what them fools say about me today?"

    "Truth. It feels cool, like water washing over my sticky-hot body. Cooling a heat that's been burning me up all my life. Truth, I say inside my head again, just for that feeling."

    "…and that's when I get to wondering, what would happen if I told her she something good, ever day?"

    There are so many wonderful quotes and thoughts and ideas in this book. What I loved most about it though is that is made me think more about how I want to treat people and how I would like to be treated. It made me feel fearful and at many times tearful, but overall it made me feel hopeful.

  50. G, you know how to pick them. First "same kind of different as me', and then this one. I was engrossed. We were on vacation, and I had lots of reading time. I couldn't put it down and read it in 2.5 days. :) What an excellent read! For me, it was hard for me to pick a favorite – I loved Abileen and her quiet strength. I loved Skeeter and her desire to change her little world. I too loved Celia and the fact that she didn't see the rules, and wanted to be Minnie's friend. (I have a Celia in my life who so reminds me of the character).

    Honestly, I just loved the book. Thank you for recommending it!

  51. Sue Ann, that was one of the themes that kept hitting me. Live your life so that when the truth is inevitably revealed, it will free you (Aibeleen) instead of imprison you (Hilly).

    I liked Sue Ann, too.

  52. My favorite is Miss Celia. She didn't understand society's rules and she didn't see lines between people and she was brave when it didn't make sense to be.

  53. I agree with Carin about a well written novel coming alive. I have not been absorbed in a book in a long time. I also love the last passage you quoted.

    Sometimes in life we need to step back and try to look at a situation from the outside. Walk in another's shoes, instead of plowing through life caught up in our own bubble.

    Skeeter's and Aibileen's quiet strength and grace brought change. I cannot imagine how hard it must have been to sit back and watch the "squeaky wheel" (Hilly) get the grease over and over.

    Truth will always prevail, sometimes we have to have the patience to wait it out.

  54. Aibileen is my favorite. She reminds me of my mom–I love that she's the one who sparks the change, with quiet strength.

    I identify most with Skeeter. But I wish I was Aibileen.

  55. Your last passage is my favorite and for me sums this whole amazing book up in one tidy little package. If someone asks me what it's about those are the lines I use.

    "We are just two people. Not much that separates us. Not nearly as much as I’d thought."

    The best thing about a well written novel is that the people become real. They become your friends. I got to sit in the heat of the deep south and listen to Minny, Aibileen, and Skeeter whisper in my ear. And the better part of a well written novel, sometimes our new friends don't whisper. They shout.

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